2020 is a year of change. While recorded online lectures existed long before the COVID-19 pandemic, we see how this pandemic has led to the change of how we learn across all levels of education in Singapore.

Online lectures might be the new way of learning from now on.

Today we want to be sharing 5 tips on surviving online lectures as you either begin your freshies lives in your university or continue to adapt to this new norm.

1. Environment

Foremost, the physical environment you are in while listening to the online lecture matters.

The place should generally have the following qualities:

  1. Of comfortable temperature
  2. Quiet
  3. Distraction-Free
  4. Tidy
  5. Well equipped

Personally, I realised what works best for me will be to switch up the environment every time. Every time when I go to a new nice environment, it gives me motivation and productivity to do work. It can be outdoors or indoors depending on my mood. In my junior college years, I realised studying outdoors, at my class bench, was actually very calming, However, this might not be for everyone as some people might prefer more routined and consistent environment, instead of switching things up.

2. Get everything ready and of arms-reach

Carrying on from point number 5, the things you need should be near you so that when you need them, you can get them without being distracted.

Usually, this includes: a drink, pen and paper/notebook, textbook (if necessary), your earpiece.

Many a times, in the midst of wanting to search for something or get hold of necessary objects, we can get distracted by other things along the way. This is especially so as you now have the freedom to be away from the class without the professor watching you. Hence, this step helps you keep yourself away from temptations. Also, if your professor happens to ask you something and you need to reference them, you can provide more immediate responses, rather than having everyone wait for you to search for an answer.

Whether your phone might be a distraction to you is something up to you to discern! Put it away if needed!

3. Take breaks

Sometimes, lectures or university seminars can go up to three hours, but usually one or two.

You need to have good stamina to withstand the constant information overload. Usually, the lecturer will offer a break halfway through.

Make use of it!

Personally, I do get lazy to leave my seat, but I will usually regret this during the next half of the seminar as I will get sleepy from the lecture.

Hence, tip to self (and maybe to you), will be to get out of your seat to get a cold or warm drink or just go for a short walk and you can come back feeling more refreshed.

4. Prepare and Start Early

We now have the luxury to simply turn on our Zoom at the very last minute before the seminar starts. We no longer need to get ready and travel to classrooms thanks to online lectures.

Hence, this is all the more reason why we should be treasuring the extra time we have by getting ready for lectures!

A tip will be to get ready 10 minutes before you want to start your lecture. Prepare the things you need and if you have extra time after that, read through the materials for that lecture in advance. This can help you slowly settle into the flow of the lecture as you sip on your hot drink. This 10 minutes can make a huge difference to your mood and mental strength later on.

5. Optional: Get a study buddy

Circuit breaker was a time of a lot of isolation. There are people who thrive in isolation but there will also be some who yearns companionship for productivity. If you belong to the latter group, you may want to find a study buddy to watch either the concurrent lecture with you or just do their own work as well. This can help keep the both of you accountable for each other’s learning.

Personally, I prefer to study alone. However, when the content get boring, a study buddy really keeps me going by chatting me up and sharing random stories with me to keep me entertain during my study breaks. Decide what is best for you and initiate to jio friends out to study together!

Honestly, all these tips that I had given, I tried my best to achieve them if possible and have fun trying to focus!

Generally, the best tip to doing well or understanding online lectures (live or recorded) is always to revise the content while it is fresh in your head. That is, right after you finish your lecture. Take a 30 minutes break and quickly go back to revise what your professor had just gone through. If any question arises, clarify them quickly via email or through friends. Do not allow them to build up.

With that, good luck in your online learning journey!


This article is written by Ho Kar Yern a Year 2 accounting student from National University of Singapore who loves a good cup of coffee and weekly mala sessions ~ She is passionate about serving the needs of the elderly in Singapore and participates actively in delivering her service and time to them whenever possible.